August 09, 2006
Long Island National Golf Club in Riverhead is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. course that is open to the public. At its inception, the idea was to build a links-style course where everything was straight-away, giving it a traditional Scottish flair.
The results sit in a tucked-away location at 1793 Northville Turnpike in Riverhead, New York and the course blends both traditional style with that of the links, making it a perfect place to escape the noise and stress of everyday living. As a matter of note, a hole like the fifth secludes the golfer in such a way that he or she won't see or hear a motorized vehicle for the duration of the hole. All this bodes well for those who need a mini-escape on the course.
Opened in 1999, Long Island National is managed by the American Golf Corporation and it challenges players of all skill levels. Everywhere you look is a blend of rolling hills and wooded areas and there are more than 50 sand traps within its layout along with three large lakes that come into play to add to your enjoyment.
The Gatz family once owned the potato fields upon which the course is perched and the bent grass fairways are fringed with fescue rough while the elevations soar and sink dramatically as you go from hole to hole.
Taking a peek tour of the course, the fifth hole, mentioned earlier, has a fairway that slopes from right to left and it's wise to think about using a club that will do the job to a long, elevated green protected by deep bunkers. The sixth hole has tall trees abounding it which engulf the green; appealing more to those who prefer more traditional holes.
The tenth hole is open, wide and treeless and certainly a good way to start the back nine. Even if you have a great drive off the tee, you'll be challenged by the right way to lift your ball over the fairway bunker. On the twelfth, water surrounds you in more than one location. Your tee shot is imperative here if you want to avoid the large water hazards.
The sixteenth hole is both long and difficult and you should try to stay away from the trees on the left and be aware that the fairway slopes right to left as it shapes the hole. The seventeenth is also particularly scenic, so look and enjoy before preparing yourself for a somewhat challenging par four, avoiding the obvious right fairway bunker in the process. It is definitely reachable if you can get a long, straight drive off the tee.
At the eighteenth hole, a par five, be sure to know that this is a serious home stretch with a green protected by a deep ravine in the front left. Try your best to keep your tee shot away from the undulating hills to the right and the sand trap on the left. When you've completed the course, take note that the ranch-style clubhouse with the covered patio is where numerous eyes have viewed your progress on that last hole.
The clubhouse is an example of architecture that fits in well on our East End as it offers a pro shop, bar, banquet facilities and locker rooms. L.I.N.'s driving range is a quiet spot to improve your skills and the bent grass putting green is equally appealing.
Long Island National is an 18-hole regulation-length public course with a par 71 and it's just another great example of what the East End has to offer in the world of golf. For further information or to set up a tee time, call 727-4653.